Alabama 10, Louisiana State 0
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 5, 2016
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE – (Wire Service Report) – Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts broke open an epic defensive struggle with a 21-yard, fourth-quarter scamper for a touchdown and used his legs to set up a clinching 25-yard field goal by Adam Griffith and lift No. 1 Alabama to a 10-0 victory over No. 13 LSU Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
The teams had combined for 13 punts and two missed field goals in a scoreless tie before Alabama took over at its own 10-yard line late in the third quarter.
After running back Josh Jacobs was nailed for a 5-yard loss on first down, Hurts connected with wide receiver Miller Forristall, alone on the right sidelines, for a 22-yard gain, moving the Crimson Tide away from their goal line.
The drive got another spark from an unsportsmanlike conduct call against LSU linebacker Devin White, who tackled Hurts on the sidelines, giving Bama a first down at the 47.
On third-and-9 from the LSU 21, Hurts rolled to his right and then cut it up the middle of the field for the score, putting Alabama up 7-0 with 13:08 left.
The Crimson Tide got the clinching score with 2:41 left on Griffith’s chip shot field goal. Hurts ran for 23 and 11 yards on the 15-play, 50-yard drive. Hurts finished as the game’s leading rusher with 114 yards on 20 carries.
But Alabama’s ninth consecutive win was a struggle for the top-ranked Tide. Despite being mired in the defensive struggle, Alabama coach Nick Saban passed up a chip-shot field goal that would have given his team a 3-0 lead in the third quarter.
Instead, Saban gambled for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the LSU 1. The gamble backfired because of relentless pursuit, first by safety Jamal Adams, then by linebacker Kendall Beckwith and finally by linebacker Duke Riley, who dropped Jalen Hurts for a 5-yard loss.
But LSU’s offense could do nothing against the Alabama defense. The Tigers (5-3, and 3-2 in the SEC) accounted for just 125 yards in total offense and six first downs. LSU had one first down in the second half.
Running back Leonard Fournette was held to 35 yards on 17 carries after rushing for a school-record 284 yards against Ole Miss two weeks ago.
The scoreless first half showcased two incredibly fast and physical defenses, bringing to mind the 2011, five-field goal game in which LSU won 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa.
LSU had the best chance to break through, wasting an interception at the Crimson Tide 33-yard line by safety Jamal Adams on Alabama’s opening drive. But LSU was able to run only three plays for 1 yard, and kicker Colby Delahoussaye’s 49-yard field-goal attempt was tipped at the line by Alabama defensive back Ronnie Harrison and fell harmlessly in the end zone.
Alabama outgained LSU 120-100 in the first half, but it had to dig itself out of field-position holes on nearly every drive. On Alabama’s first six drives, its average field position was the Crimson Tide 13.
LSU’s best offensive series of the half came in the second quarter. The Tigers picked up three first downs and moved the ball to the Alabama 46, but the Tide stuffed LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark on a third-and-6 crossing route, and LSU had to punt again.
Hurts swept left end on third-and-5 for a 27-yard gain that gave Alabama its best scoring chance in the second quarter, moving the ball to the LSU 24. But Hurts threw three consecutive incompletions, and kicker Adam Griffith hooked his 42-yard field-goal attempt to the left.
Alabama’s stout run defense held Fournette to 30 yards on 12 carries in the first half, and even though Etling completed 7 of 13 passes, the completions were mostly underneath routes.
Etling’s 41-yard toss to Chark, the longest play of the half, did not produce points because Alabama came up with back-to-back sacks, forcing an LSU punt.
The teams had only five first downs each as the defenses dominated.
LSU’s final chance for points in the half — taking over after a short Alabama punt at the Tide’s 47, ended when LSU failed to pick up a first down.
NOTES: Did he have tickets to the game? A man wearing an Alabama Crimson Ride baseball cap robbed a bank in New Orleans Saturday. … Two Bama fans broke into Tiger Stadium Friday night and tried to gouge the midfield logo of the “Eye of the Tiger,” but the purple-and-gold symbol was repaired before kickoff. … Former LSU DBs Patrick Peterson and Tryann Mathieu joined the team on the field for warmups. Peterson and Mathieu donated money for Baton Rouge flood victims. …